Real Madrid hitman Karim Benzema has resumed his goalscoring heroics from where he stopped in 2021-22, bagging three goals in the opening three La Liga games of the 2022-23 campaign.
The French international, 34, scored 27 times in 32 league games last term to help Los Blancos to their second title in three seasons, winning his first-ever Pichichi Trophy as a result.
Benzema will be keen to walk home with the top goalscorer of the season award again this term with strong tips from 2022 world cup backing placing him as prime-favourite, and while his fine start to the campaign puts him on track to do so, it appears he will be having fierce competition from Barcelona.
Lionel Messi won the Pichichi in each of his last five seasons in La Liga, with the Madrid star finishing behind the Argentine in second place in the goalscoring charts in 2020-21, 2019-20 and 2018-19.
While Messi is gone, for now, the Catalans have recruited the services of another goal machine in Robert Lewandowski.
The Poland international striker, 34, joined Barca from Bayern Munich in the summer, and he has wasted no time settling down at Camp Nou, netting four goals in three La Liga appearances.
That exactly has not come as a surprise after Lewandowski ended his Bayern career with 238 goals in 253 Bundesliga games, and it is safe to say Benzema will have his work cut out for him in the race for the golden boot this term and going forward.
Helping Madrid win the Copa del Rey and retain the La Liga and Champions League titles in order to make a clean sweep of all the trophies available this season will be the most important thing on the mind of the UEFA Men's Player of the Year, but the roles individual prizes play in helping to boost footballers' morale cannot be overemphasized.
Benzema and Lewandowski are plying their trades in the same league for the first time in their trophy-laden careers, but it is not the first time that they will be fighting for the same things.
The Polish striker has pipped his French counterpart to the European Golden Shoe in each of the last two seasons, and they are both on 82 Champions League goals.
The striking legends will be aiming to outscore themselves in the domestic league and the elite continental competition this term, and this should be an interesting battle for football fans across the globe.
Barca have been drawn in Group C of the Champions League alongside Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen, while Real Madrid are in Group F with RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic.
Given the qualities and strengths of the opposition both teams will be facing in their different groups, it is safe to say Benzema could be pulling clear of Lewandowski in the competition's goalscoring charts.
After failing to advance to the competition's round of 16 last term, Xavi's side could also struggle to get out of another tough group, and that will be good news for Benzema and Carlo Ancelotti's side.
The El Clasico has always attracted millions of views all across the world, and while Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo no longer headline it, many will still be very much keen to watch Benzema vs Lewandowski in action.
They are two of the best goalscorers in the game right now, and how they fare in front of goal at Santiago Bernabeu come 16 October, 2022 and at Camp Nou on 19 March, 2023 could have a huge say on both their individual campaigns and their teams'.
The 34-year-old duo do not have a lot of years left at the top of the game, but they have been in fine form over the last 12 months and are ready for the next nine.
All eyes will be on them whenever their teams play, and while they will not disappoint, every miss could prove costly to their individual and teams' ambitions this season.
Benzema has nothing else to prove in the La Liga, but Lewandowski will be hungry and eager to show that he can dominate the Spanish top-flight as he did in the Bundesliga, and that would push both strikers to even become better versions of themselves in the final third.
Ronaldo vs Messi in the La Liga has ended, and we enjoyed it while it lasted. Now, it is Benzema vs Lewandowski, and fans could be in for another huge treat.